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Tainan official chased by opponents of railway project
Central News Agency
2014-04-09 11:15 PM
Taipei, April 9 (CNA) A Tainan City official was chased Wednesday by protesting residents who are scheduled to be relocated by the city government to make way for a railway development project. Hsiao Po-jen, a senior official in the city government's secretariat, was mobbed by angry protesters after another official ended a meeting with local residents just 10 minutes after it began. The meeting was scheduled to last two hours. Wu Hsin-hsiu, director of the southern Taiwan city's Urban Development Bureau, brought the meeting to a close, saying that "none of the residents present or their representatives were opposed to the project." Hsiao and Wu had managed to enter the meeting room through a side door under heavy police protection, as the protesters were blocking the main door to prevent the meeting from being held. Upon Wu's announcement, the protesters swarmed toward the two presiding officials, who had to seek police protection to leave the conference room in Deguang Borough of the city's East District. Chased by the protesting residents, Hsiao could not get to his waiting car and he ran into the street where several other vehicles tried to pick him up. But the protesters kept blocking his path and eventually he had to walk to a nearby police station to seek protection. The protesters have accused the city government of non-transparency in its plans to relocate the people living along the railway line near Tainan Station where the existing tracks will be moved underground. They have also demanded that the city government hold public hearings instead of "explanatory meetings" to dispel the public's concerns about the development project. The protesting residents were supported by some students who were part of the Sunflower Movement that has been occupying the Legislative Yuan's main chamber in protest against the government's trade-in-services agreement with China. The students said they will mobilize greater support for the Tainan residents who are protesting the city government's "black-box" handling of the urban development project. The city government later issued a statement, expressing regret over the incident earlier in the day. It promised, however, to maintain communication with the residents in a bid to resolve the dispute. (By Chang Jung-hsiang and S.C. Chang)
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